Re: Sadahiro

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Posted by Paul Schumacher on April 04, 1998 at 02:02:07:

In Reply to: Sadahiro posted by hans van ter Toolen on March 26, 1998 at 10:49:21:

: I have recently acquired an actor print by Sadahiro of the Osaka school, according to the label. Does anybody have any information about the artist or know where I can get it?

Sadahiro was an outstanding Osaka print designer whose active career spanned the years c.1819 to c.1863.
He was not only a designer of Kabuki theatre prints, but also a poet and the owner of the Tenki publishing
house in Osaka during the 1840's. He was a pupil of Kunimasu, and he studied under Kunisada in Edo sometime between 1828 and 1835.
He used several names to sign his work including Tomikuni, Tamikuni, Hirokuni and most notably Gosotei Hirosada, which (it is now generally believed), he used from 1847 until about 1852.
His output was prolific and he was the foremost designer of actor prints in Osaka in the late 1840's and 1850's.

In his essay "The Osaka Printmakers," (from Ukiyo-e to Shin hanga,
The Art of Japanese Prints, Magna Books,(1990), Jonathan Bennett notes that "The Tempo ban brought all printmaking in Osaka to a halt for five years until 1847 when Kunimasu's pupil Hirosada
courageously designed a set of small portraits of unnamed actors, with titles suggesting they were likenesses of legendary heroes. These were passed by the censor and a new
chuban size portrait genre was born using the brilliant mineral dyes now available and printed with meticulous precision."

Two readily available books about the Osaka school and Sadahiro/Hirosada are Osaka Prints by D. J. Schwaab,(1989), and The Theatrical World of Osaka Prints by Roger S. Keyes and Keiko
Mizushima, Philadelphia Museum of Art, (1973).

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